We often discuss helmet use, infrastructure, and accident statistics, but hopefully, we all know bicycling is a relatively benign activity that doesn’t warrant so much focus on safety. Really all we need to do is get some training and treat the bicycle with the respect it deserves as a vehicle. Beyond that, I believe we should leave it to each person to decide where they ride, and how they outfit themselves for that ride.
That said, there is one safety infraction I want to bring up because I see it so often. Just today, I took a 5 block walk at lunchtime, and in that short distance I saw a half dozen bicyclists riding at speed, squarely within the door zone, on a busy one way street crowded with traffic. Two of these riders were professional bike messengers. An inattentive motorist exiting any of the many cars parked along the route could have resulted in serious injury to the bicyclists.
Without a doubt, riding in the door zone is the most common, but easily resolved, dangerous riding activity I encounter. If there’s not enough room to clear the doors of parked cars, we need to either take the lane, get up on the sidewalk, or find another route. Barreling down a busy road, squarely within the door zone, hoping and betting that no one opens a car door, is just asking for trouble.